Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 23, 2015
Photos By: Wes Allison

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to buy a classic Mustang with all of the modern running gear and conveniences that make the new Mustang such a pleasant car to drive, but with that ultra-sexy early look? Yes, you can build your own, but that requires an enormous investment of time, money, and effort, even if you know how to do everything yourself. Or you can buy someone else’s project car built in the full restomod manner, but there’s usually a reason they’re selling it, and it’s often not a good reason.

Enter Classic Recreations, who you are probably already aware of from their ’67 Shelby G.T. 500CR Mustangs, the only officially licensed 1967 Shelby Mustangs in production today. Those cars use modern 5.0L Coyote DOHC engines and high-end aftermarket suspension parts, and are legitimized with their inclusion in the Shelby World Registry. We’re sure Carroll would be proud of what the company is doing with his legacy, but CR’s stepping it up a notch these days with the formation of CR Supercars, a division of the company that, in their own words, is “Dedicated to handcrafting turnkey supercars that fuse classic styling from the golden age of American muscle cars with the latest high-tech engine and chassis components to create world-class sports cars that are totally bespoke and turnkey. “ In other words, take the G.T.500CR and ratchet up the custom meter by a factor of about four.

The heart of the Villain is an all-aluminum 5.0L crate engine from Ford Racing that has been upgraded with a Boss 302 intake manifold and tuned by John Lund at Lund Racing. It makes 422 hp at the dyno rollers.

The first machine out of the CR Supercars line is the Competition Orange 1968 Fastback you see here (and on this month’s cover) named the Villain. The Villain started life as an original ’68 Mustang fastback; CR Supercars strips the car to a bare shell and updates the sheetmetal with new steel and/or composite body panels that are crafted using the latest 3-D mold-making technology. Some rather subtle trim pieces are used for appearance reasons, but CR claims they also improve aerodynamics and reduce weight. After the body mods are done, the car undergoes what CR estimates at 2,500 man-hours to build it using (again in the their words) “cutting-edge performance tech, hand-rubbed custom paint, and a custom-stitched interior. All of that creates the ultimate sports car: more unique than an Italian exotic and faster than anything from Detroit.”

Those are bold claims to be sure, but after spending the better part of a day in the car they might have hit those goals. The engine is a Ford Racing Aluminator Coyote 5.0L with a Boss 302 tunnel-ram style intake manifold, tuned by Jon Lund at Lund Racing (www.lundracing.com) in California. Lund performed a remote-tune, meaning that CR had the car on the dyno in Oklahoma and Lund tuned it over the Internet from his shop on the West Coast. When the session was over, the 5.0L put 422 hp to the rear wheels. Think about it; the base engine is rated for 420 hp at the crankshaft and drivetrain losses will typically account for roughly a 10-15 percent loss at the tires, but Lund added that much grunt to the engine so the advertised power rating makes it all the way to the road. If it’s not enough, CR can add a supercharger as a cherry on top. A Tremec T-56 six-speed transmission with a Centerforce clutch sits behind the engine because, really, who would put an automatic behind such a sweet engine?

CR’s Jason Engle said he wanted to retain the original flavor of the interior on the Villain but with a custom, all-black appearance. It uses Scat Evolution seats (“they’re a little more racy than what we use in the Shelbys because people might take the Villain to a track more often) and the center console was wrapped in black leather. Deluxe door panels were used but CR painted the inserts matte black and left the stainless trim around the outer edge for a highlight. Lokar door and window crank handles are in black, as are the shifter handle and ball. The dash pad is a leather-wrapped one-piece part from Mustangs to Fear (MTF), as is the headliner. Behind the Sparco wheel are custom gauges from Classic Instruments with Villain markings and tachometer trim that matches the exterior color of the car.
An Old Air climate control system is actuated through the stock switch panel.

What really makes the car’s driving experience stand out compared to most other ’68 Mustangs on the street is the full Detroit Speed and Engineering (DSE) suspension. That includes DSE’s Aluma-frame with Corvette-based A-arms, the Quadralink four-link rear suspension (with a DSE 9-inch Ford rearend housing filled with Strange guts), and fully adjustable DSE/JRi coilovers. Wilwood six-piston calipers clamping on 14-inch rotors front and back put the halt to BFGoodrich rubber (P275/30R18 front, P335/30R18 rear), which ride on 9.5- and 12-inch-wide (respectively) Grip Equipped Series wheels from Forgeline. If we could have taken it to the road course we’re sure it would light the place up, but the car’s brand-new condition made us think twice about that.

The body itself has undergone the knife and plasma cutter front to back, with full custom quarter-panels, C-pillar scoops, trunklid, rocker moldings, hood, front fascia … anywhere you look, it’s custom-built from CR Supercars. The good news is that the car you’re looking at here is being digitized as we write this, so that CR can make injection molds from it to reproduce all the parts and sell them individually, in fiberglass or optionally carbon fiber. The paint is 2015 Ford Competition Orange as used on the new Mustang, sprayed by CR with Glasurit products.

The Villain debuted at the 2014 SEMA Show in Centerforce’s booth and CR Supercars already has two orders placed for cars. One customer wants a car identical to the Villain but with reversed colors (matte black with orange stripes) and the other customer desires a slightly different interior, which is no problem. As CR’s Jason Engle said, “The options list is endless; I don’t care what my customer asks for, we can do it. No holds barred.” The cars are built to order, and the Villain, as you see it, can be had for $154,900. That’s nowhere near cheap, but it’s right in line with any custom-built car out there with these kinds of parts and assembly techniques.

The trunk probably won’t handle a full set of golf clubs, but who cares? A Rick’s stainless steel fuel tank with a Vapor Worx fuel system feeds the Coyote, an Optima Yellow Top provides the volts and amps, and a full-on Kicker stereo system thumps the tunes.
Those custom door handles are from Lokar.

Engle sees a comfortable production schedule of about 10 cars a year, and like we said previously, most of the parts on this car can be bought individually—CR has partnered with an overseas steel manufacturer to produce a whole line of restomod/pro touring parts built off of their designs and injection molds, in either fiberglass or carbon fiber. Engle told us, “I’m not a huge fan…I think carbon fiber is an incredible component, but not for longevity in a race application-style car like this. If you run a full carbon-fiber hood I can guarantee that over time it won’t last, not 10 years anyway. So fiberglass will be standard with a carbon-fiber upgrade, and all the parts are injection molded so they’re not going to be some cheesy chopper gun crap.”

If you have the funds and want a turnkey ’68 Mustang with the comfort, handling, and performance of a modern car (and then some), each built-to-order vehicle from CR Supercars takes approximately four months (nearly 2,500 man-hours). For more information about Classic Recreations or CR Supercars, please visit www.classicrecreations.com. Engle wanted to make sure to point out that while he is the face of the company (which is located in the “metropolis of Yukon, Oklahoma”), it’s the crew of 15 employees at the shop that makes this all happen.